Thursday, July 17, 2014

Kohlrabi & Pak Choi Pizza

Sometimes there are vegetables that are readily available, in season, fresh, healthy, and um, well we don’t know what to do with them.  That’s how I felt about kohlrabi and bok choy recently.  But I got them anyways and through them on a pizza! 

Pizza is the great dumping ground for veggies that I am unsure of what to do with but I try to do some research before I get to that point.  As a leafy green the bok choy was at least similar enough to more common leafy greens that I’m used to.  With a bit of internet searching I found that bok choy had many good options beyond what I had already thought of… but then I forgot it in the bottom of the fridge for a few days and it lost some of its fresh-looking tastiness.  The kohlrabi was a bit more mysterious although there were plenty of recipes on the internet for it as well. 

It turns out that kohlrabi is part of the cabbage group of vegetables, thus the “kohl” in its name, like the “cole” in coleslaw.  Where it seems to differ from cabbage is that it’s a bit starchier and thus can caramelize a bit when cooked, and it kind of looks like some sort of alien.

Going back to the pizza I found one other person who had put kohlrabi on their pizza but pre-roasted it a bit to get some of that caramelizing action going on!  Since forgotten bok choy wasn’t the only leafy green lurking in the bottom of the fridge it seemed like a good idea to make a greens pesto, consisting of the larger leaves of the bok choy, some old kale, walnuts, goat cheese, and oil.

The pesto was the base for the pizza topped with a bit of mozzarella (Goatsarella actually!), the roasted kohlrabi, some chopped green onion, and one slice of crumbled bacon.  It made a wonderful pizza, full of rich and unexpected flavours but with the familiar taste of crispy chewy pizza crust and good cheese.

Pak Choi and Kale Pesto
·        1-2 small bok choy
·        2-4 large kale leaves
·        2-3 tbsp. goat cheese or goat cream cheese
·        ¼ - ½ cup walnuts or heartnuts
·        2-3 tbsp. oil
·        salt

In a food processor puree all the ingredients until smooth.  Adjust quantities to achieve the desired consistency—if you like it a bit chunky vs. very smooth.  Make it creamier by adding more nuts and cheese.

Kohlrabi and Pak Choi Pizza
·        ½ kohlrabi, sliced thinly
·        1 tbsp. oil
·        1-2 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled or chopped (optional)
·        Bok choy or pak choi and kale pesto
·        Mozzarella or Goatsarella, enough slices to cover roughly half the pizza
·        Green onion, chopped
·        Crushed red chili flakes (optional)
·        Pizza dough

Preheat the oven to 500.  Toss the kohlrabi slices in the oil and roast them on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes while the oven is preheating.  Stretch out the pizza dough.  Spread the pesto on the dough then arrange the slices of mozzarella on the pesto leaving plenty of space between them because this pizza is not just about the cheese!  Top the pizza with the roasted kohlrabi, crumbled bacon, and chopped green onions.  Add a bit of crushed red chili flakes for some extra huzzah or a bit of salt and pepper. 
Bake the pizza at 500 until the dough is starting to turn golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. 

Jon Spee loves local food and seeks it out constantly.  It makes it hard for him to have very many favourite restaurants because he’s so obsessive about where the food is from.  Luckily he can cook and blog

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